Medical Imaging During COVID 19

Medical Imaging During COVID-19

Hospitals and imaging centers throughout the US have worked hard to find a safe and reliable “new normal” for imaging exams and procedures. The spread of COVID-19 has prevented and delayed various types of routine and elective healthcare. In the imaging space, scan volume dropped as low as 80% in some parts of the country back in April. As outpatient facilitates are reopening general imaging services under strict guidelines and have seen a surge in the number of test requests. Here are some useful facts and tips if you’re considering scheduling an exam in today’s environment.

How imaging centers are reopening safely and what to consider: Off-site imaging centers have taken on much of the imaging procedures hospitals were forced to cut down on, creating environments that better abide by the CDC’s new social distancing and sanitation standards.  

The CDC and ACR have released guidelines for free-standing imaging centers to reopen safely.  If you need imaging, check with your local providers to see what procedures you might need to take before getting your test.  For example, some centers will ask for you to get a COVID test before getting your medical scan.  If so, you’ll need to coordinate timing with the imaging provider to make sure you’ll have your COVID test results back in time. Every imaging center could have different protocols which could make it challenging to navigate.  Imaging centers might also have irregular availability as they need more time between tests to clean machines to comply with COVID requirements.  

Should I get my test now or wait?  This is a tough question and it really depends on each specific patient and their need.  Depending on why you need imaging, you might be considering delaying your test until it’s safer to travel outside. The CDC says that this year’s flu season may be the worst one in recent history due to Flu and COVID seasonality. This means that there is a risk that imaging centers could close later in the fall and winter.  If this were to happen, it means there could be a good window over the next few months to more safely access imaging near you. 

Chronic conditions, like heart disease or diabetes, need regular checkups and lab visits to monitor your progress and make sure your treatment is working. Colonoscopies and mammograms are examples of screenings that can detect several medical conditions, some of them serious. If you had a colonoscopy or mammogram appointment that had to be delayed due to COVID-19, we urge you to talk to your physician to see if they suggest getting any type of imaging. 

Though COVID-19 may change the way you get care, it’s important for your health that your care doesn’t stop. Wondering about whether or not you should seek medical care is common. We encourage you to talk to your physicians to help you decide how to manage any potential imaging you might need and if it makes sense to get it now or if it can wait until a later time.

To book a scan, visit us at Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them. 


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